The conversation came after Sam Darnold had thrown three interceptions against the Jaguars and the video board inside their stadium replayed all of them while blaring the theme from Ghostbusters.
It was a low point for Darnold for sure. But he wanted to climb up out of it. He has and it can be traced back to discussion he had with Adam Gase about his offense.
Darnold told Gase certain things that he thought worked well and some things he didn’t. Since that talk, the Jets’ offense has shown a stark improvement, as has Darnold.
“It was just about continuing to gain trust in each other and confidence in each other,” Darnold said during a conference call Monday. “It was important for that conversation to happen. We just talked about things that I liked and things that I didn’t like, things that he liked and he didn’t like.
“It was really good. It was really good to continue those conversations and we have been the last few weeks.”
Darnold led the Jets (3-7) to a 34-17 victory over the Redskins on Sunday with the first four-touchdown game of his career. He spread the ball around and completed those touchdown passes to four different receivers.
In the last two games — both Jets wins — Darnold has thrown five touchdown passes and one interception. Overall, since the big pow-wow with Gase, Darnold is 65-for-99 for 783 yards with six touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 101.5.
In the two games before his talk with Gase, which included the night Darnold declared “I’m seeing ghosts” against New England, he threw two touchdown passes, seven interceptions and had a passer rating of 36.7.
“It was really important for me at the time because I felt like I had a lot better understanding of the offense at that point during the season,” Darnold said. “I felt confident enough. I felt like I knew the offense well enough to have a really good conversation about it.”
Gase, the Jets’ play-caller, welcomed the conversation with the 22-year-old Darnold.
“It was really just him coming in and telling me what he liked and how he saw how he wanted to play and what fit him best,” Gase said. “That’s what you want. You want your quarterback to be able to do that.
“Sometimes when you’re a younger player you’re trying to feel everything out, trying to see how everything works and operates. It was probably the right time.”
It’s fair to note that as well as Darnold has played these last three weeks, it hasn’t been against the Patriots, Saints or 49ers’ defense. It’s been against three of the NFL’s worst defenses — the Dolphins, Giants and Redskins.
But Darnold or the Jets shouldn’t be penalized for finding their rhythm against some forgiving units. It’s obvious the offense, and Darnold, are works in progress. They appear to be getting better with time, experience, and because of the comfort level of the quarterback.
“He knew what he was getting really good at,” Gase said. “He knew what was causing him to play slower. He was able to exactly tell me what he was looking for and how I could help him. That’s the direction that we went.”
Darnold has developed good chemistry with slot receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Ryan Griffin.
Crowder leads the Jets in targets (73), receptions (53) and yards (562) and has caught touchdowns passes in three straight games. Griffin has a team-high four touchdown catches. They both got in the end zone in Sunday’s win.
Some of the plays are by design or come from Darnold or the receivers improvising. But running more plays that Darnold believes have the best chance of working has made a big difference.
“That was zero issue for me,” Gase said. “It makes it easier because now you’re not guessing, you’re not wondering what he likes, what he doesn’t like. The communication factor there, that makes life easier if you’re the play caller.”